In the closing years of the 20th century, members of the local legal
community perceived a growing need for a law library to serve the
attorneys and general public in Douglas County. In the fall of 2000,
the Honorable Michael J. Malone, then Chief Judge of the Seventh
Judicial District, proposed to the Bench/Bar Committee of the Douglas
County Bar Association that it consider establishing a county law
library. The Committee decided to ask local attorneys if there was
enough interest to move forward with the proposal. The Committee
appointed a six-member subcommittee to coordinate and conduct an
election on establishing a law library, pursuant to the requirements
set forth in K.S.A. 20-3126(b).
On February 26, 2001, the committee held an election among local
attorneys, asking whether or not a county law library should be
established. The attorneys voted 109 in favor and 12 against, thereby
approving the establishment of a library.
According to statute, the five sitting district court judges, the
Honorable Michael J. Malone, the Honorable Robert Fairchild, the
Honorable Paula B. Martin, the Honorable Jack A. Murphy, and the
Honorable Jean F. Shepherd, became members of a board of trustees for
the newly approved law library. Since the five members constituted a
quorum of the new Douglas County Law Library Board of Trustees, they
immediately held a meeting by e-mail on February 27-28, 2001. The board
passed a motion that set the attorney representation on the Board at
four members, two more than the statutory requirement that no fewer
than two attorney members be elected to two-year terms on a county law
library board. In addition, the board set the law library docket fees
that are authorized in K.S.A. 20-3129, with collection to begin in
March of 2001.
The board held an election to fill the four attorney positions on
the board of trustees in May of 2001. Douglas County attorneys elected
David J. Brown, Kay Huff, Margie Wakefield, and Charles Whitman, all of
whom had been members of the Bench/Bar election subcommittee, to serve
on the board.
The board held its first regular meeting on May 31, 2001. At that
meeting, it set the annual Law Library Registration Fee for local
attorneys at the statutory minimum of $10.00 and authorized Doug
Hamilton, Clerk of the Douglas County District Court, to begin
collecting the fee pursuant to K.S.A 20-3126(c).
Over the next year and a half, the board researched and
investigated the necessities of opening and operating a law library,
including the finding of a suitable location for the library and the
hiring of a law librarian. The Judicial and Law Enforcement Center was
undergoing renovation during that time, which allowed some flexibility
in identifying a space for the library to occupy. The board chose an
area on the south side of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center and
next to the south entrance of the building as the location for the
future library. The space had previously been part of the Citizen
Review Board offices. Construction began to adapt the space for library
use. During the summer of 2002, the board conducted a search for a law
librarian with Kerry Altenbernd eventually being hired to fill the
position. He began work on October 1, 2002, as the first Douglas County
The board and the law librarian worked for the next seven months to
finish renovation of the space, outfit the library, and otherwise make
it ready for opening. A ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 1, 2003, marked
the official opening of the Douglas County Law Library. On June 18,
2003, a new electronic key system became operational and made the
library accessible to registered attorneys 24 hours a day, seven days a
At its January 15, 2004, meeting, the board of trustees voted in
favor of allowing local artists to exhibit their works in the law
library. As part of the celebration of the first anniversary of the law
library, the Douglas County Law Library Art Gallery opened on April 30,
2004, with an exhibition of photography by local attorney Hudson Luce.
Exhibits by other artists followed monthly thereafter.
In its 2004 session, the Kansas Legislature authorized the addition
of a sixth district judge to the Seventh Judicial District. With the
swearing in of the Honorable Stephen N. Six to that position on
February 4, 2005, the membership of the library board increased to ten.
The addition of a sixth judge to the board caused its members to
become concerned that the balance between attorneys and judges on the
board might be disrupted. To mitigate any imbalance, at its January 20,
2005, meeting, the board approved the addition of a fifth attorney
member to serve on the board. It was decided to fill that new position
in the biennial attorney member election scheduled for that spring.
In the spring 2005 election, David J. Brown, Kay Huff, and Charles
Whitman were reelected to the board. Shelley K. Bock and Stephanie J.
Haggard were newly elected to the board. The five took office on May 1,
2005, the addition of one new attorney member bringing the total
membership on the board to eleven.
In the spring 2007 election, Stephanie J. Haggard and Charles
Whitman were reelected to the board. Martin L. Miller, Carolyn Simpson,
and Kenzie Singleton were newly elected to the board. The five took
office on May 1, 2007.
On January 18, 2008, Judge Six resigned from his judgeship to be
appointed to the office of Kansas Attorney General to fill the
unexpired term of Paul Morrison. Judge Six had been a member of the
Douglas County Law Library Board of Trustees for three years, since his
appointment as district judge, and his resignation as judge opened a
position on the Board.
On March 31, 2008, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius chose Judge
Peggy C. Kittel, at the time serving as Judge Pro Tem in the Seventh
Judicial District, to replace Judge Six on the bench. On April 9th,
2008, the Honorable Peggy C. Kittel was sworn in as District Judge in
Division VI of the Seventh Judicial District of Kansas. With her
swearing in as district judge, she became a member of the Law Library's
Board of Trustees.
In 2008, Judge Jack A. Murphy decided to retire from his position
as Judge in Division II, a position he had held since 1994, and so did
not stand for retention in the November 4, 2008, general election. A
search was begun to choose his successor and on December 12, 2008,
Kansas Governor Sebelius chose local Lawrence attorney Sally D. Pokorny
to fill the judgeship. Judge Murphy's last day on the bench was January
12, 2009. By retiring from the judgeship, he also retired from his
position on the Law Library's Board of Trustees, a position he had held
since its creation in 2001. On January 15, 2009, Judge Pokorny was
sworn in as District Judge in Division II of the Seventh Judicial
District of Kansas. With her swearing in as district judge, the
Honorable Sally D. Pokorny became a member of the Law Library's Board
In the spring 2009 election, Kenzie Singleton, Charles Whitman, and
Stephanie J. Wilson, who had previously changed her name from Haggard,
were reelected to the board. Jody Meyer and Craig A. Stancliffe were
newly elected to the board. The five took office on May 1, 2009.
In 2010, Judge Jean F. Shepherd decided to retire from her position
as Judge in Division III, a position that she had held since 1984, and
so did not stand for retention in the November 2, 2010, general
election. Judge Shepherd's last day on the bench was January 7, 2011.
By retiring from the judgeship, she also retired from her position on
the Law Library's Board of Trustees, a position she had held since its
creation in 2001. To fill the opening on the bench, Kansas Governor
Mark Parkinson chose local Lawrence attorney Kay Huff from a pool of
three names submitted to him by a search committee. On January 14,
2011, Judge Huff was sworn in as District Judge in Division III of the
Seventh Judicial District of Kansas. With her swearing in as district
judge, the Honorable Kay Huff rejoined the Law Library's Board of
Trustees, on which she had served three terms as an attorney member,
from 2001 to 2007.
In the spring 2011 election, Jody Meyer, Craig A. Stancliffe, and
Charles Whitman, were reelected to the board. Julia V. Bellemere and
Hatem Chahine were newly elected to the board. The five took office on
May 1, 2011.
In the spring 2013 election, Julia V. Bellemere, Hatem Chahine, Jody
Meyer, and Charles Whitman were reelected to the board. Sarah Warner
was newly elected to the board. The five took office on May 1, 2013.
For more information, contact the Law Library at: email@example.com.